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QATAR CLASSIC - Quarters: AS IT HAPPENS

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the quarter-final stage of the 2016 Qatar Classic, World Series tournament in Doha gets under way.

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy takes on Germany's Simon Rösner in the day's first fixture, with Rösner coming off the back of a superb win over former World No.1 James Willstrop in the previous round.

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad meets the younger ElShorbagy brother, Marwan, for a place in the last four, while three-time World Champion Nick Matthew takes on Frenchman Gregoire Marche.

Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley and England's Daryl Selby will clash in the round's other fixture.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+3)
17:30 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [7] Simon Rösner (GER)
18:30 Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [4] Nick Matthew (ENG)
19:30 [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
20:30 [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)

ElShorbagy Battles Past Rösner to reach Semi-Final Stage

Defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy emerged victorious from a huge battle against Germany’s Simon Rösner to continue his attempts to lift the Qatar Classic title for a third time in succession.

The World No.1 has beaten Rösner in all eight of their previous meetings on the PSA World Tour, but it was an inspired Rösner – competing just a day after a superb win over former World No.1 James Willstrop – who started the better of the two, with his unerring control of the ball seeing him build up a one-game lead.

Rösner continued his charge into the early stages of the second, but with two game balls came two unforced errors as he let ElShorbagy back into the match to force a tie-break, where the German No.1 squandered a further game ball as the fixture was brought back to all square.

ElShorbagy hen battled back from 4-0 down in the third to push Rösner all the way, but two contentious decisions towards the back end went in the German’s favour to hand him a 2-1 lead.

A tired Rösner was run ragged in the fourth by a resurgent ElShorbagy, who took it 11-5, before a series of sensational exchanges in the decider brought thunderous applause from the gathered spectators. With the tension reaching a crescendo, an errant shot from Rösner saw a stroke awarded against the World No.13, ensuring that ElShorbagy wrapped up a 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9 victory to reach the last four.


“It was unbelievable,” said ElShorbagy.

“Every player has a quality that is different from other players. Maybe my quality is that I'm a fighter, I just keep fighting and that's maybe the thing that kept me alive in this match and got me a win at the end.

“At times, I was playing at my best and I thought that he was the better player at times. He was controlling things and I had to get things back. Some of the shots he was hitting on the back-hand side were unbelievable. The thing about my back-hand is that it wasn't that bad, but when it was that tight he would go for the ball and hit a straight drop.

“Today, it's not because I was playing badly or because my level went down, it's because I was playing someone who was doing something special on court.

“For me, I still have the same mental strength I've always had and I think maybe that's why I won today.”


Result:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9 (80m)

Stunning Fightback from Matthew Downs Marche

Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew produced a superb comeback from two games down to end World No.24 Gregoire Marche’s charge at the Qatar Classic – setting up a titanic semi-final clash with World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy.

Matthew found himself two games behind after Marche put in a display full of vigour and control in the early stages. But the mental resilience that has been a hallmark of the 36-year-old’s glittering career came to the fore as he fought back to take the next three games without reply, earning the win by an 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-3 margin to move to within one win of a second World Series final of the season.


“I definitely never stopped believing,” said Matthew.

“The first two games were the same, I felt like he played really well, but I don't feel I played badly. I could have been a bit more consistent maybe, but I worked one or two things out tactically.

“There's no doubt that the matches [in the previous rounds] took a toll on his body. I have total respect for what he did, to play another five-setter is considerably hard.”

Marche had defeated Matthew the last time they met in September’s NetSuite Open, and put the Englishman under huge pressure from the off, with his stunning retrieval abilities seeing him pick up anything Matthew threw at him in the early stages as he fought to a 2-0 lead.

Matthew then required three game balls to claw a game back in the third, before using his guile to outwit Marche in a tight fourth game, lobbing the ball and hitting his lines well to draw level.

That victory in the fourth seemed to break Marche’s resistance as ‘The Wolf’ dropped just three points in a one-sided decider to ensure that he will re-ignite his fierce rivalry with defending champion ElShorbagy.


“I think it would be fair to say that neither of us have played our very, very best this week, but here we are in the semis,” Matthew said ahead of the mouthwatering encounter.

“Mohamed is the number one player in the world, he has that same quality that I think I have, where he can get the wins even when he's not at his best, and he’s proven that over and over again.”

Result:
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-3 (85m)

Selby Reaches First World Series Semi-Final Since 2012

England’s World No.19 Daryl Selby claimed a spot in his first World Series semi-final in over four years after beating Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley 3-1.

The 34-year-old from Essex last reached the last four of a World Series tournament in January 2012 at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, but he built on wins over World No.4 Omar Mosaad and qualifier Adrian Waller with a fine display against 2015/16 Dubai PSA World Series Finals runner-up Pilley.

Selby was tactically astute and chose his shots well to edge a tight opener, before Pilley looked to be struggling to move properly in game two, with the number eight seed salvaging just one point amidst an onslaught from Selby.

Pilley came back on court recharged in the third as he clawed a game back, but Selby overturned a game ball in the fourth game to claim the win – setting up an encounter with either World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad or Marwan ElShorbagy as he looks to reach the showpiece finale of a World Series tournament for the first time in his career.

“The first was a big game for both of us, and once I won it I wanted to get a good start in the second and he dropped off at the same time,” said Selby.

“It was sort of a false game in a way, it was a weird game. Because of how easy it was, I sort of lost my momentum and him at 2-0 down obviously wanted to come out firing. I knew he was going to do it, but I didn't respond quick enough and he got away in the third.

“I wanted to make the last bit of it hard for him to give me a bit of momentum in the fourth, which it did. Once it got to 7-2, I think I just saw the finishing line too early, which shouldn't happen really, but when it's a tournament this big and an opportunity this big for the both of us, it's difficult to push it to the back of your mind.

“He played some really good rallies at the end of the fourth. I think that was probably his best squash even though I managed to come out on top.

“It's my first [World Series] semis since ToC four years ago. It's a big tournament for me and I just want to keep going and I feel like I'm playing well.”

Result:
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-9, 11-1, 8-11, 12-10 (70m)

Gawad Dispatches ElShorbagy to Seal Semis Berth

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad booked his place in the last four after defeating the tenacious World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy in four games.

The duo were tied up 2-2 on the head-to-head record, with Gawad winning their most recent meeting in March’s British Open.

And it was the 25-year-old from Giza who opened up a one-game lead after pulling away from 5-5 down in the opener, but ElShorbagy levelled in the second, despite falling 9-7 behind, after forcing some errors from the racket of Gawad and coming out on top of some punishing exchanges.

But Gawad soon rediscovered his groove and he took the next two games to settle an 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4 scoreline.

“It’s very, very tough to start a new tournament and only have 10 days to forget about the Worlds and focus about something else, especially when you have achieved something you have dreamt about since you were seven or eight years old,” said Gawad.


“I wasn’t playing my best squash at the beginning of the tournament, I wasn’t finding the corners well or moving very well. I really need to be consistent because I know very well that if I want to be top of the rankings then I must be consistent throughout the whole year.

“I started the season really, really well, so I want to finish it as well as I started it. That’s the biggest push.

“Marwan has been playing really well over the last year and a half, and he’s moving much, much better than before. In the British Open we had a very clean match, and Marwan and I are both very good friend outside of the court.

“We play as a good friends in clean matches where whoever plays the best wins.”

Result:
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4 (49m)

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